The travel bug seems to have made its way around – everywhere you look, members of Gen Y are talking about wanderlust, traveling for months (or years), and wanting to embark on an epic journey.
What gives? If you’re like me, maybe you haven’t really thought of traveling. Maybe it’s because you never traveled when you were younger, or maybe it’s because you thought it was out of your budget.
Whatever the reason, I have to admit, lately I’ve been entertaining the idea. Especially since I’m location independent. Technically, I can travel anywhere as long as I have a decent internet connection.
So why does traveling seem so appealing? Here are 7 benefits of traveling I thought of off the top of my head. Feel free to add yours in the comments!
1) Feeling of Independence
If you travel alone, particularly overseas or to another country, you’re going to foster a sense of independence very quickly. When’s the last time you were in a situation where you only had yourself to rely on?
Traveling alone in a different place can be overwhelming, but it can also be incredibly empowering to know you were able to get from Point A to Point B with just your map, a bit of ingenuity, and going with your gut.
This independence will be useful later on in life, especially after college, or when you’re living on your own. It’s important to know how to look out for yourself and take care of yourself, without the help of parents or significant others.
2) Saving Becomes a Priority
Hopefully you’re saving up for your epic adventures and not putting them on a credit card. Once you make travel one of your big goals, saving for it can become easier.
The hardest part about saving sometimes is that you need something to work toward. Most people don’t care to save just for the sake of saving (even though it’s important!), because they can’t see the immediate benefit.
When you decide to save for traveling, you can open up a separate savings account just for travel, and watch the numbers add up. It’ll be exciting when you finally hit your goal and can book your trip!
3) You Gain More Perspective
If you’ve only ever traveled within the US, then you probably haven’t experienced culture shock. When you visit a third world country, you’re basically guaranteed to experience it.
There are so many more different ways of life out there. Learning and experiencing them can be amazing and very worthwhile. Seeing how others live can give you a different perspective, and often even an appreciation for how we get to live. You quickly realize how privileged you are to have access to the most basic things you probably take for granted every day.
4) Learning Another Language
Plan on traveling for months at a time in a different country? You might want to learn a few key phrases and words in the native language. It’s beneficial to be able to ask helpful people where the nearest train station or restaurant is.
Learning another language can be really helpful for your career, too. Being multilingual looks amazing on a resume, and if working internationally is something you’re interested in – or even traveling for work – it’s a skill that will come in handy.
5) Being Culturally Connected
Traveling can actually help you feel more connected with your culture if you grew up in a family that has strong cultural beliefs or traditions from their native country. Have you ever wondered exactly where your parents or grandparents came from? Traveling can give you the unique opportunity to experience their country firsthand.
Visiting your home country can really help you feel more connected to the culture/life you have at home, if your parents still follow certain cultural practices. It can also give you a new appreciation for certain traditions.
Perhaps you grew up in a westernized household, but want to go back to your roots, or explore a culture you feel connected to for a particular reason anyway. I studied Italian in high school, but we also learned about the history along with the language. I’ve always wanted to go to Italy to see everything I learned about in person!
6) Getting Away
To be clear, there’s nothing wrong with wanting to travel occasionally – these benefits aren’t exclusive to those that want to travel long term. Some people aren’t cut out to life the nomadic lifestyle. Even just traveling for a week or two has great benefits.
Overall, travel should be rewarding – you should learn or experience something new, and you should also be able to get away, unplug, or relax.
A change of scenery is always nice! After all, that’s why we have vacation days. Make the most of them.
7) Making Memories
Lastly, traveling is easily one of the best ways to make lasting memories, either for yourself, or with family and friends. You don’t hear about people forgetting their travel stories. You also don’t hear most people regretting spending the money on travel.
Spending on experiences brings us greater happiness, and travel is generally one of those experiences. You should be spending on what makes you happy!
Start Saving for Your Journey
There are some intangible benefits to traveling, too. There’s just a sense of wanting/needing to explore that many of us feel (hence the term wanderlust), and we want to satisfy that curiosity.
If traveling is a priority for you, then get to saving for it! It’s totally possible to save for a goal alongside paying off debt (or saving for retirement). You already have a few priorities defined – create a financial plan around that.
Wherewithal can also help. By shopping with us, you’ll earn cash back rewards that are deposited right into your linked account. You’ll reach your goal quicker with some extra help!
In your opinion, what are the best benefits of traveling? Are there any downsides?